President's Notes

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Celebrating USSES & 100 Years of Innovation

Burton Pfliger, ASI President

In late August, the staff of the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station in Dubois, Idaho, put on a unique celebration in honor of the station’s 100th anniversary. It was informative, educational and fun all at the same time.

I attended the three-day celebration along with ASI Vice President Mike Corn and executive board members Susan Shultz, Gary Visintainer and Ken Wixom. Producers, industry educators and representatives from various state and national agencies were also on hand to celebrate the station’s achievements. I was afforded the opportunity to address attendees before an afternoon of educational seminars, and would like to share my comments from that day at this time.

Thank you Dr. (J. Bret) Taylor and the staff of the United States Sheep Experiment Station for the invitation and the opportunity to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of the sheep industry’s only Agricultural Research Service station solely dedicated research facility for sheep. The combination of animal and range science makes USSES ideally equipped to serve a broad base research portfolio necessary to sheep producers throughout the country.

This is such a unique and special place, staffed and served by equally special and dedicated people. The location of this facility is perfectly situated geographically to address some of the most pressing issues of our time. This station is accurately reflective of the type and kind of sheep production essential to western producers and must be retained to continue our research efforts.  

Today’s environment requires that we as an industry remain vigilant, aware and responsive to not only sheep producers but other stake holders in public facilities and policy. The American sheep industry remains committed to the USSES mission and its continued prevalence and prominence in the research and education of producers and stakeholders.  

A special thank you to Dr. Taylor for your level of commitment, persistence, dedication and for the eternal optimism you express to the entire sheep industry. The sheep industry is very fortunate to have you serve in your role.  

I would also be remiss if I did not mention the state associations, individual members, universities and families who have given so unselfishly of themselves, their time, resources and talents. You know who you are, and at the risk of missing someone I will not mention your names.  

We, as an industry, owe a great level of gratitude and debt to those farsighted individuals who saw a need for the development and creation of the USSES 100 years ago. The effort they put forth to create this facility was no less significant or difficult than the issues and challenges we face today to maintain and grow our research efforts here at USSES.  

Today, we take our custodial duty of the USSES very serious.  Our industry and ASI are committed to preserving, protecting and defending USSES. May it never be written of our time that we here today did not do our part as custodial parties. Let us adopt the mantra expressed by all-time slugger Babe Ruth who said, “It is hard to beat someone who never gives up.”  

I commit to you producers and to Dr. Taylor and staff that ASI will not give up, and we welcome the addition of your individual talents to our efforts. Thank you again for the opportunity and honor in the partaking of history as we set our sights on the next 100 years of the USSES.

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